Bamboo & Precious Wood

Bamboo - Take - Susutake

A fast-growing plant believed native to East Asia, bamboo (derived from the Malay bambu), can be read take or chiku. Bamboo has been long recognized for its strength, flexibility and durability, and even in modern times it has found new applications. The filaments in one of the earliest incandescent light bulbs produced by American inventor Thomas Edison were made from a variety of Japanese bamboo called madak. In ancient times, bamboo implements were at the cutting edge of information technology, used for recording and tallying information, as well as for keeping count. Bamboo is not only useful, it’s edible, in the form of „takenoko“ bamboo shoots. The empty hollow of bamboo sections can be used in preparing food as well as for carrying it after it’s cooked. Bamboo can also be used to make various utensils. „Hashi“ chopsticks) and „takebera“ bamboo spatula used to scoop steamed rice, as well as „chasen“ a bamboo whisk used in the tea ceremony. Another use for bamboo was in musical instruments, such as „fue“, a bamboo flute or „kiteki“ a steam whistle as you would find on an oceangoing vessel. Needless to say, bamboo is found in place names and surnames, such as „Takeda“, „Uetake“, „Takemura“, „Takemoto“ „Satake) and „Takekura“. In Zen temples, if a person meditating nods off, the priest will awaken him or her with a measured smack from a bamboo rod called a „shippei“. The expression „take ni suzume“, a sparrow in the bamboo means “two things that go well together. In Japan, bamboo also symbolizes purity and innocence. This is exemplified by their well-loved tale, called Taketori Monogatari which translates to Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. In this story, a young lady named Kaguya-hime was found inside a bamboo stalk. She was raised by an old man and woman, and although many young men proposed to her, she said yes to none. One evening came the full moon; she suddenly disappears to return to the moon because it was her place of birth.

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